A portrait of Godfrey Schaupmeyer taken in Thetford, England in 1943
The Schaupmeyer brothers in Trail, British Columbia in 1941 (from left to right): Charlie, Godfrey and John. The picture was taken as John went to see Charlie and Godfrey off for basic training.
Godfrey and Charlie Schaupmeyer in Quebec City, 1941
Mr. Schaupmeyer in December 2009.Historica Canada
Training School at Petawawa, Ontario, January 9, 1942.Godfrey Schaupmeyer
"Canada thought there might be an invasion from Japan off the Bering Straits, so they wanted some ski patrols trained, and I was part of that group for a while."
And I was shipped back to Petawawa [Ontario], and became part of a ski patrol group. Canada thought there might be an invasion from Japan off the Bering Straits, so they wanted some ski patrols trained, and I was part of that group for a while. But it disbanded I think, I think I was there until probably January of 1942. And I went back to Debert [Nova Scotia] and rejoined the regiment. And we were shipped over to England in, in 1942, I think it was July or August in 1942. And we continued training in England. And after D-Day, I landed in France on, I think it was June the 19th, a few days after D-Day.
Landed at Gold Beach, which was the British sector, not the Canadian sector. The Canadian sector being Juno [Beach]. And we went right through. I went right through Normandy. The big battle was the Battle of the Falaise Gap. We were deeply involved in that. And after we were pulled out of action, I think it was August the 21st. Our division incidentally, at the Falaise Gap, a gentleman from Regina won the Victoria Cross. He was with the Calgary Tanks.
I had just got into Holland and I think we crossed one of the canals, it was probably the Albert or the Leopold, I’m not sure which, and I ended up in the hospital in Antwerp [Netherlands] and I spent about a month in the hospital in Antwerp. That of course had been taken as well. And the Canadian Medical Corps had taken over a hospital, which had been a German military hospital. And when they took it over, some of the German doctors and the first aid attendants, they stayed with the hospital. And I was carried in on a stretcher by four German soldiers. I didn’t know what was happening. I thought I was a prisoner or something I suppose.
And that hospital was hit by a V-2 rocket, which the Germans were using at that time to try to destroy the Antwerp docks. When we took the docks over, they were intact. And having the docks shortened our supply lines quite considerably because we were trucking goods, ammunition, whatever, that had to be trucked overland from ports down the French coast. But with the Antwerp docks being intact, we could bring ships right into Antwerp.
So the Germans were interested in trying to destroy it, and some of the V-2 rockets were actually, a lot fell accidentally, but a lot were aimed at the docks for the purpose of destroying them. However, one hit the hospital, and I was evacuated back to England, and I was in the hospital in, in Watford, in North London for some time. And from there, I went to a convalescent depot, which was in Farnborough. And I was there when the war ended.
August the 14th was sort of my day of the war I guess in a sense. We were waiting for the Battle of the Falaise Gap to start. We knew that was going to happen that day. Well, the first thing that happened about 10:00 in the morning, we were sitting back waiting for things to start occurring, and a half track vehicle belonging to the 12th Manitoba Dragoons had backed over some landmines that had been lifted, but they hadn’t been demobilized. And it blew up, very small pieces, a tremendous explosion. And we never found enough to bury anybody, it was that bad. We were told the bombers were going to come in and sort of saw from the frontlines around the town of Falaise, which they did, they came in and they started bombing. But 20 percent of the bombs fell on our lines. And it was probably the first friendly fire that occurred during our war, that war. Certainly the first one that I knew about.
And we were bombed quite a length of time, and I was blown, physically blown, into the side of a vehicle, and I had my head split open, and it impacted on my upper neck and back. And that was quite serious. I thought I was going to die because the head wounds bleed tremendously, but the head wound itself wasn’t serious. It was my upper neck that was bad. As I say, I went into a hospital in Antwerp later on, and then back to England. And I stayed on in England, the war ended in 1945, of course. And I stayed on until April of 1946, I believe it was. I came back to Canada and got my demobilization, I was demobilized in Calgary.